Recommendations

Hello! Shalom! Aloha! Mabuhay!

If this is your first visit to Modern Apocrypha, I have only two recommendations for continuing on with minimal confusion:


1) Please begin with the first introductory post (found HERE) and work your way forward. Almost all the posts on this blog flow chronologically and will make more sense with the background and context of previous ones. Jumping in anywhere might be disorienting.

2) Please read along in the texts posted off to the right. I try not to summarize too much in the commentary and discussion, and being at least somewhat familiar with what we're discussing or I'm commenting on will be most beneficial and edifying for all involved. Plus, going along with the theme of this blog, any hidden truths to be brought to light will be found within the text itself and not necessarily within my ramblings.

Okay, fine, three recommendations:

3) Please read with an open heart, mind, and spirit. See what truths you can find in these works--ones which speak to you. Namaste : )

Thursday, June 12, 2014

VISIONS 3, PART 1 - SEEING HIS FACE & KNOWING HE IS

Visions 3 contains Christ's visitation to, conversation with, and instructions for Elisha three months after his experience with the vision, cave, and Oleeha. Saturday 20 Sept 1986 fell right around the full moon of the fall equinox (if we want to play that game again), but more importantly, it was the night before the 90th day from Oleeha's promise that if Elisha would keep these things sacred for three months, he would witness the miraculous. Here the Lord tests Elisha's faith to the fulness, to the last minute (ain't that the way it goes). (Why didn't He come on the 23rd--three Julian months later? Maybe He was all booked up that next Tues ; )

On this final night, Elisha is awoken by a light brighter than anything he'd ever seen. Personal experiences in the scriptures talk of the brightness of heavenly beings as brighter than anything they've ever seen. Lehi sees Christ in vision, and
he beheld that his luster was above that of the sun at noon-day. (1 Nephi 1:9)
In one of his accounts of the First Vision, Joseph Smith says:
I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun,... [and] I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description. (Joseph Smith-History 1:16-17)
Joseph also recounts the first visit of Moroni a few years later:
I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday,... [Moroni] had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen; nor do I believe that any earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedingly white and brilliant.... His whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. (JS-H 1:30-32)
Finally, Joseph and Oliver Cowdery were visited by Christ in the Kirtland Temple in 1836, relating that
his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun. (D&C 110:3) 
I've always wondered how we would describe that brightness nowadays in our modern language--brighter than a 1000 watt floodlight? What's the brightest, whitest thing you can think of?

Elisha cowers in shame because he feels his sins and misdeeds have made him unworthy to be in Christ's presence; however, instead of receiving divine retribution or disgust, he feels an intense love envelop him. This is a depiction of a central aspect of Christ's grace and atonement, that we can be recipients of God's love, Spirit, power, redemption, etc. in spite of our unworthy, sinful, imperfect state. This image of enveloping love is a theme that runs through modern revelation, particularly in the form of the phrase "encircled in the arms of God's love". Lehi testifies to his sons,
But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love. (2 Nephi 1:15)
His son, Nephi, pleads,
 O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! (2 Nephi 4:33)
Ammon is grateful to have been an instrument in God's hands to bring thousands of their brethren to Christ and that
they are encircled about with the matchless bounty of his love. (Alma 26:15)
Amulek explains:
Mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles [believers] in the arms of safety. (Alma 34:16)
And finally, the Lord promises Oliver Cowdery (D&C 6:20)
Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love.
Those who put their faith in Christ and are partakers of His atonement will be enveloped in His love, just as Elisha felt.
And on top of this, not only to prove that this isn't all a dream, and more importantly, so that Elisha can witness to the reality of Christ's resurrection and atonement, he is invited to feel Christ's wounds and know Him. The Lord makes this promise through Joseph Smith:
Every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am. (D&C 93:1)
(There's a great little talk, HERE, by Spencer W. Kimball discussing this promise.) By following these five steps, anyone's faith in Christ can grow into true knowledge of Him, as illustrated with Elisha (and described by Alma in Alma 32). Each of us has the potential to see Christ and know that He is, but those who don't ask, seek, or knock will never receive, find, or have it opened to them.

5 comments:

  1. I think that this all really does hang on this event, and whether it happened or not. The devil could have easily appeared as an angel of light, he tried that with Moses. However, the devil could not have 1) been physically felt [D&C 129] and 2) only Jesus Christ would be able offer Elisha the privilege of feeling the wounds in His hands, feet and side. If Elisha did indeed see and feel the wounds of the very Son of God, then he is indeed a special apostle and this book is the word of God. If Elisha lied about this event, then you can bet the rest is a lie too. It's crazy how much it is like gaining a testimony of Joseph Smith's first vision and prophetic mission. We must indeed read the words and ask of God.

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  2. I wholeheartedly agree with you, Shawn. On somewhat of a tangent, with all the people who have claimed to have been visited by Christ, I often have wondered if God or Christ would allow an evil spirit to impersonate them, even without the tangible experience. Joseph Smith didn't claim to have felt either the Father or Son at his first vision. I guess that's why John counseled to "try the spirits."

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    1. Isn't that what happened to Moses as we read in the Pearl of Great Price? Satan came tempting him, demanding to be worshiped as the "Only Begotten."
      Then again, it was clear to Moses that this being had no glory as did the God he was speaking to previously (and also noted that it was necessary to be transfigured to behold the glory of God, but he was able to see Satan in the "natural man"), and was thus able to discern between God and Satan claiming to be God. Perhaps this story isn't as relevant as I thought, haha.
      I also wonder if Satan could possibly take upon himself the visible features of the Father or the Son (we do know from modern revelation that devils are capable of appearing as angels of light).
      I do know that God provides us with sufficient knowledge, so that if an angel of the devil were to attempt to deceive us, we'd be able to tell (as Moses could discern between God and Satan pretending to be God).
      What really convinces me that the vision was not an elaborate deception from the adversary is the enveloping feeling of intense love which Elisha described to be coming from this Being. I don't think it's possible for Satan to duplicate love. Apparently he can mimic visible light, but I can't imagine how the very personification of hatred would be able to fabricate love, especially since love is a gift from God.

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    2. Thanks for your thoughts, Sandra. Elder David Bednar taught that where there is light, there is warmth; darkness is cold. God is Light and Love, and we feel that warmth from time to time. Those who have had the privilege of being in the Lord's presence (or any of those other just men and women made perfect) speak of that overpowering love that, I agree, evil, pride, and enmity cannot emulate.

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